Lake District Mountaineering have enjoyed a busy winter season - running skills courses, private guided days and taking lots of great people into the winter mountains.
From the 6th Jan to the 6th March we have been delivering winter courses from Helvellyn to Cairn Gorm.
Here is our season in numbers:
Lake District 1 day winter skills: 4 courses ran
Lake District 2 day winter skills: 5 courses ran
Scotland 2 day winter skills: 4 courses ran
Scotland 4 day winter skills: 1 course ran
Private guided days: 9 private courses ran
Total times on Helvellyn: 12 summits
Our winter round up:
Over Christmas the Lake District hills were free of snow. We ran a navigation day on the 3rd Jan in preparation for the upcoming courses, this was delivered in wind, rain and mild temperatures. With a course on the 6th, all looked a bit doom and gloom.
Snow arrived overnight on the 5th and we headed up the mountain on the 6th Jan, where we were greeted by thick, heavy snowfall and high winds. Perfect. This is exactly what was needed for the first team out this winter.
The goggles were on, the map was out and we were battling the elements, learning lots in the process.
These conditions lasted a week or so, and we ran a mixture of 1 day and 2 courses. Conditions became 'patchy' but the snow that survived was great for delivering our course outlines. High pressure and cold, clear nights were freezing the snow hard and creating amazing neve for us to use each day.
A big walk into the back of Red Tarn bowl meant a big day was on hand for some teams and for others we had to use the sheltered areas of Catstyecam when windy. We did traverse Striding Edge when conditions were good and allowed for safe passage over the ridge.
A winter traverse of Striding Edge is high on the list for most people, and can be the perfect way to consolidate all those new movement skills we cover over the days - boots, crampons and axes are all effective when used appropriately and under instruction.
February was not the best for snow and ice this year. Usually this time of year is more reliable. We have experienced a windy, mild and strangely dry period over this time.
Our Lake District courses suffered and we saw a few cancellations, more due to safety concerns over the wind - 70mph on the forecast is not the time to be learning how to operate in the winter environment.
We did manage to concentrate on delivering the Scottish programme as conditions were more favourable in the Cairngorms. Although still windy and wild, we did manage to get out into the snow and deliver both 2 day and 4 day courses for those customers that made the journey north.
Committing up to Scotland this year was key, and LDM always offers the advisement to travel to Scotland for more of a guarantee of winter conditions.
Our Scottish courses saw lots of practice and allowed for lots of time in crampons, making big journeys over the Northern Coires and onto the summit of Cairn Gorm when possible.
To finish off our scheduled course programme we ran a 2 day course in the Cairngorms in the most perfect of weather - bluebird and alpine in nature. We enjoyed powder snow, hard neve and blue skies for a weekend of skills, learning and big mountain journeys.
On all courses we have covered the FUNdamentals of winter, examples include:
Using rigid boots and their edges
Ice axe technique
Crampons - fitting, adjustment and walking
Sliding & self arrest
Snowcraft and avalanche education
Snow anchors where appropriate
LDM would like to thank each and every customer that has joined us over this short period - we love the winter mountains and we love to spend our time introducing you to the skills and knowledge needed to be safe and enjoy this amazing environment.
There are still some amazing late season conditions in Scotland - if you fancy a trip away or a private course we have some availability to run in the Cairngorms. Get in touch!!
In the Lakes, it is now time to focus on our spring programme - which includes, climbing, scrambling and navigation. We have lots going over the next few months, keep up to date and join us for a day in the mountains!
Look out for our courses for the next winter season - our course dates will be live for Jan-March 2023 later this year.
Please contact us to discuss any upcoming programmes or courses.